Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): To make young scholars aware of the contributions of legendary Ujjain archaeologist, Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar, an Indore-based Indian Numismatics and Sigillography Academy has published a memorial volume on him.
“Our journal ‘The Journal of Academy of Indian Pneumatics and Sigillography’ has dealt exclusively with Dr. Wakankar’s exemplary inventions and contributions,” said the director of the academy, Dr. Shashi Kant Bhatt.
The volume includes 16 research articles written by leading scholars across the country. Five items are based on Wakankar rock art while three are based on numismatics and sigillography. One is about petrography and two about modern drawing and its contribution, veteran archaeologist Dr Bhatt told Free Press.
Indian Academy of Numismatics and Sigillography, Indore has been an advanced research center since 1975.
We publish a research journal every year that is circulated among the world’s leading institutions. We have also been a member of the International Numismatic Commission since 1992, he said.
Wakankar’s greatest contribution is Bharat-Bharti Sansthan, based in Ujjain, where excavated materials are exhibited to train future generations.
He was a brilliant personality. He was from Neemuch district and his father was an engineer. He passed on the skills of painting from his family. Despite lacking access to modern equipment like camera, which are essential for the study of archaeology, he trekked and cycled through Neemuch including the dense forest cover of Neemuch-Bhanpura and the valley of Chambal from 1954.
He surveyed rivers and ravines from their emergence to their highest point. Dashpur, Runija, Dangwada and Kayatha were the main sites of his excavations and research in the Malwa belt. Kaytha gave him worldwide recognition for discovering Vedic culture.
Dr. HD Sankalia and other scholars have dated the site to between 2100 BC and 1800 BC. The black pottery received from the Kayatha excavations required acute insight, which was Dr. Wakankar’s trademark.
Dr. Bhatt relates that Dr. Wakankar traveled on foot from the main course of the Chambal Valley with his help and returned to his origin at the Kahn River in Indore. He found Stone Age tools from 9,000 BC. In this way, he explored the ancient inhabitants and life and highlighted the rich traditional Indian culture.
He has received so many world famous awards. The discovery of the extinct Saraswati route has put his name in the limelight. The discovery of the Bhimbetka caves is one of his most significant exploits. He was conferred Padma Shree in 1975 and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi rose from her chair and extended her hand to Dr Wakankar to honor him.
Father of the rock art school
Wakankar, the ‘pitamaha’ of rock art school in India, has done extensive work in India and abroad since 1954. He studied rock art in the UK, Austria, France, in Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Egypt and the United States. Wakankar discovered and studied more than 4,000 rock caves in India and also discovered rock shelter paintings in Europe and America, dating back to artists’ activities dating back 40,000 years. Today Wakankar Shodh Sansthan boasts of a private collection of around 7,500 rock art paintings sketched by Wakankar of which around 4,000 were discovered by him. Wakankar with his students † explored the ravines of the Chambal and Narmada rivers and carried out excavations at Maheshwar (1954), Navada Toli (1955), Manoti (1960), Awara (1960), Indragadh (1959), Kayatha (1966) , Mandsaur (1974, 1976), Azadnagar (1974), Dangawada (1974, 1982), Roman site of Verconium in England (1961) and Incolev in France (1962) and Runija (1980). An expert in the field of numismatics and epigraphy, Wakankar collected and studied approximately 5,500 coins ranging from the 5th century BC. He studied over 15,000 pieces in Ujjain. He also studied about 250 inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Brahmi languages dating from the 2nd century BC. Wakankar continued his research in ancient archeology and ancient Indian history. He was responsible for mapping out the basin of the now-dried Saraswati River, which holds a treasure trove of elusive history secrets of Indian civilization.
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Posted: Saturday, January 22, 2022, 01:19 AM IST